New training programme to help lawyers be China-ready

SINGAPORE - Lawyers keen on working with Chinese businesses and law firms can soon tap a new training programme here to learn about the Chinese culture, legal systems and business environment.

The China Ready Programme will be conceptualised and approved by the Law Ministry, and will feature Mandarin language lessons and courses on Chinese legal systems and culture.

In a press conference to announce the programme on Tuesday (July 30), the Law Ministry said it seeks to expand the pool of lawyers here who can work with Chinese companies and law firms to meet businesses' needs.

With Singapore stepping up its legal and judicial cooperation with China, the programme is a natural progression of the growing level of cooperation between Chinese and Singapore lawyers, said Senior Minister of State for Law Edwin Tong during the press conference at The Treasury on High Street.

The programme is expected to be launched early next year, and there will be two runs of the programme every year with about 25 lawyers in each class. Participants will have to pay a fee, although no details are available yet on how much the programme will cost.

Each run will last about four months, and will teach lawyers about the Chinese legal systems, for example, on foreign investment law, contract law and specialist areas including mergers and acquisitions and dispute resolution.

It will be developed and delivered by the Han Culture and Education Group , a subsidiary of Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), and will help lawyers appreciate the Chinese culture and business environment.

Mr Anthony Tan, SPH's deputy chief executive officer, said the new programme leverages the expansive global network and resources of SPH's Chinese Media Group to develop practical training content for lawyers.

He said: "In particular, it taps Lianhe Zaobao's insightful perspectives on developments in China to ensure that content is relevant to the business needs of Singapore lawyers."

Mr Tong added: "We think this is an important programme because it's not just looking at the nuts and bolts of it; we're not just looking at hard laws or legal system."

Instead, the programme allows lawyers to understand the business culture and environment, he said.

"We then build a stronger bond, not just at a legal level, but also at the human level. And I think that stands Singapore lawyers in a much better stead," said Mr Tong.

Apart from the training programme, the Law Ministry has also arranged for networking opportunities for Singaporean lawyers to meet their Chinese counterparts. Graduates of the training programme will also have opportunities to be seconded to Chinese firms.

An advisory committee to advise on the training programme's curriculum and implementation has been set up. The committee, chaired by Mr Tong, comprises 16 legal professionals from Singapore and China. They will meet once a year, and the first meeting will be held on Aug 6 at Maxwell Chambers.

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